The Rescue: A Trilogy of Faith – Reunion
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Five years ago, my two daughters, Sheryl and Dacia, left our home in Massachusetts to move to Boone, North Carolina. I experienced a taste of the loneliness and longing I would have for them even before they drove off. At the same time, I was thrilled that God was walking out His life in them, "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." They had chosen to move 600 miles away as part of a team of people dedicated to God’s work. What higher goal could a mother have for her children?
I followed two years later with the prospect of the three of us living and working together. My younger daughter, Dacia, had become part of the Zerubbabel youth ministry and its publication Z-news. She and her sister shared an apartment with two friends. She began a new career, and to all appearances, seemed to flourish in her new life.
As time went on, however, she grew more withdrawn and quiet. It became apparent to me, as it did to others, that she was in deep spiritual trouble. Three years after she arrived, Dacia made the decision to move out of the apartment she shared with her sister, and cut off contact with her family and Christian friends.
But even in darkness I cannot hide from You.
I was desperate when she left and terrified to think what would happen to her. I was fearful she would go back to the sin life God had rescued her from years ago. I didn’t know if she’d ever come back. I was frantic to do something. What could I do? I had to believe that somehow God could turn her around. In the midst of the turmoil in my mind God said, "You believe everybody is operated by either Christ or Satan. So what are you going to believe for Dacia?" It was clear from her outer behavior that Dacia was being misused by Satan, but I knew that in her spirit was a Christ-Dacia union. This was what I chose to believe, in spite of the way things looked outwardly. "He who had begun a good work…will complete it."
I had no contact from Dacia until three months after she left. She was scheduled for surgery to correct her jaw alignment in the fall of 1995 and I had planned to give her financial help and to help her recuperate. While discussing it with others, I realized there had to be some boundaries. She could not take advantage of my financial and emotional support and then choose to have nothing to do with me, her sister, and our fellowship.
Even there Your hand will guide me, Your strength will support me.
It was a heart-wrenching decision. It seemed entirely contrary to my instincts as a mother and a nurse. But as much as I wanted to be with her through this, I knew God’s word to me was "Hands off. She’s chosen this path; she needs to walk it through by herself." She met me for dinner at a restaurant, since she did not want me to know where her apartment was. I dreaded going because I knew she wanted help on her terms. When I told her my decision, she simply said, "I can’t do that." I realized that there could be no comforting her, not a word of pleading. The boundary was set and if that was her decision, I could not cross over to make it easier for her. I wept in the car going home.
In years past, I had never given the children consequences for their rebel-lion and, as a result, they had "gone their own way" into serious sin. I would verbally chastise them yet tolerate their destructive behavior, thinking I was being tough on them. But it was just lip service to convince myself I was doing my job as a mother. Only by God’s grace had my daughters turned from their sin to Jesus Christ. Through the support of others who had similar defeats and had experienced His victory, we three had come out of our blindness and started walking in His way.
What made the separation more tormenting was that Dacia had personally experienced miraculous changes as a result of her faith in Christ. From being sullen, withdrawn, and unable to say her name in a group without bursting into tears, much less relate to people socially, Dacia had blossomed into a capable, attractive, witty young lady who was popular and successful at herjob. This transformation had begun when Dacia took counsel and dared to believe that Christ by her could do the hard thing. And now she had turned her back on the very truth that had given her life.
You chart the path ahead of me.
I didn’t want to repeat my same errors so I desperately needed the guidance and godly counsel of those who had seen the fruit of holding themselves and their children to God’s standards. Inside, I felt as if I was on an emotional merry-go-round during the next few weeks: guilt, anger, self-pity, sanity, and total insanity. I knew that I could not trust my own thinking, and chose to trust others.
The morning of her surgery, Dacia called me from the hospital to say that she knew that if circumstances had been different, I would have been there with her and that she under-stood how hard it had been for me to take the stand I did. A few weeks later, I received a letter from Dacia in which she said, "I understand your position in choosing not to be in fellowship with me…. I’m glad I know where you stand. It was hard for you, harder to take the stand you did. It would have been easer to be by my side. But you did what you knew was hard but right…. It sounds crazy to say this, but I’m thankful for that."
After that, I heard nothing from Dacia for months. I would obsess in my mind: I want to call Dacia. Should I? Well, I’m her mother. I need to be saying something to her. What would I say? God gave me the same answer every time: "Get yourself straight, first. Then you will be ready to be there for her when she comes back." I struggled with many excuses for doing what I felt like doing. But I knew that if I was headstrong and made the wrong decision, the consequences would not just be mine, but could push Dacia further away from God.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts.
My brain remained scrambled until I started to get honest about my real thoughts and feelings. I started telling others–and realizing in myself–that I had many strong mean thoughts and angry feelings that "nice people" shouldn’t have. This was totally contrary to my picture of myself as "nice Betty," the godly mother and helpful friend. God was making clear my own dishonesty.
It was difficult, at first, to be totally vulnerable; I didn’t want others to see what was really going on in me. As I became more open with others about my thought processes, and didn’t hide them behind "niceness." I could see that they were only my thoughts and feelings, not my identity. Therefore, I could drop the pretenses and just be myself; Christ could live through me any way He wanted to.
For some time I had been facing a situation I wanted to avoid. When the question was finally put to me, much to my own surprise, I boldly made my decision. I took a stand that I had not intended to take. Where did that come from?, I asked myself. From that point on I began speaking my mind and trusting that Christ was speaking by me. I did not have to keep silent if I had an opinion or be defensive at the input of others. And I now became certain that I could trust God to give me each step to take with Dacia.
Sheryl had begun to be in touch with Dacia and I learned that Dacia was saying, "I don’t know what I want." That made me angry. Quit lying! I learned where her apartment was and one day, when I saw her car, I decided (in the face of many mixed feelings) to stop in. I walked in and greeted her, giving her a hug. In no time at all Dacia was pouring out her venom and resentment:"I’m not coming back and be phony like I was before." I said, "At least be honest about what is going on. You say you don’t know what you want. That’s just staying on the fence! That keeps you from admitting that you are making choices every day to do what you want!" The conversation was short and she said she had to leave. But I had said what I needed to say.
The Lord Almighty has spoken–who can change His plans? When His hand moves, who can stop Him?
All right, God, what’s next? I invited her to dinner. At first, she put me off. But she called back to accept and chose to have dinner at the apartment she and her sister had shared, much to my surprise.
The apartment was warm and inviting. We had votive candles placed around and soft music playing–a Christian tape that Dacia had loved as a child. The first thing out of my mouth when she walked in was, "Oh, Dacia. Go in and see your bed. It’s waiting for you." I couldn’t believe I said that. You idiot! What did you say that for?
I don’t remember many of the details of our dinner conversation. At first, Dacia was hard and angry. She seemed to soften as Sheryl described how hurt she had felt at the loss when Dacia left. At some point, Dacia started to become honest about how miser-able she was. And once that little speck of honesty was out, it was like she changed before our eyes. Her face went from angry to soft to relief to tears, her voice from hard to gentle. She started talking in detail about her sin life. We guided her into our forgiveness–and God’s.
Sheryl and I did not want Dacia to go back to that apartment alone. Dacia readily agreed to stay the night. I left late in the evening and got in touch with a couple of Dacia’s closest friends to tell them the news, "Dada’s spending the night with Sheryl at their apartment!" Several of Dacia’s friends were still up talking. "We’re all over here. Do you want to tell us about it by phone, or in person?" I was on my way.
By the time I got there, Dacia had been called and she and Sheryl were coming. Everyone was excited to see God’s restoration. Many had been believing along with Dacia’s family for her return. The tenderness and love they showed her was overwhelming. It was God’s victory party.
Dacia had dreaded facing everyone and wondered how she could ever get back. A word of faith had been spoken by God through Sheryl and me, as well as others. And as His vessels, we had the privilege of being part of its fulfillment. The three of us still stand amazed at the way He worked out every detail. God had made a way.
Thank the Lord! Praise His name! Tell the world what He has done, Oh, how mighty He is! Sing to the Lord, for He has done wonderful things!
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 13 No 2
- Summing It Up
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- "Having nothing, yet possessing everything."
- The Rescue: A Trilogy of Faith – The Prodigal
- The Rescue: A Trilogy of Faith – A Sister’s Faith
- The Rescue: A Trilogy of Faith – Reunion
- Tape Talk
- Questions & Answers
- The Total Remedy
- The Mailbox
- Words to Live By…